ROMA HISTORY: PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE PRINCESS

princess

This post cabinet card era photograph features a “little princess” bedecked with exotic jewels and headpiece. She is holding a fan and looks bedazzled by her experience of being photographed in her costume. That brings up a question. Is she playing “dress up” and wearing a costume or is she dressed in a way that is normal for her position and culture? Hopefully, some cabinet card gallery visitors will leave their opinion about this matter. Although the identity of this adorable little girl is unknown there is an inscription on the reverse of the image. The phrase “Photo. Roma” can mean countless things. Here is my opinion. The little girl in the photograph is a member of a Roma community. The Roma (Romani) people are an ethnic group living predominately in Europe and who originate from Northern India. However, it is estimated that there are about one million Roma in the United States. They are often known by the term “Gypsies” but many consider the term prejudiced as the word gypsy has become associated with meaning illegal or irregular (ie gypsy cab). This image is pretty and thought provoking. The photograph measures about 3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ and my estimate is that it dates back to the 1920’s.

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Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TWO TEENAGE GYPSY GIRLS PREPARE FOR CARNIVAL IN CHALON SUR SAONE, FRANCE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

gypsies

It appears that the two young women seen in this portrait are dressed and ready for the French Carnival. The festival occurs after the “Feast of Fools” and has been a tradition since the sixteenth century or earlier. The girls in the photograph of this vintage real photo postcard are dressed as gypsies and holding stereotypical tambourines. The girls are about in their teenage years. They were photographed by Monsieur Henry of Chalon-Sur-Saone, France. The city is located in the south of the Burgundy region of that nation. I wonder what the fascination is with gypsies? The obsession is apparent when one looks at postcards from around the turn of the century (1800’s to the 1900’s). An observer of these postcards will see gypsies here, there, and everywhere. Perhaps visitors to the cabinet card gallery would like to hypothesize about this cultural phenomenon. I would appreciate your input. Now, back to this postcard. The previous owner of this postcard translated the message as “Remember with affection your little girlfriend. A thousand kisses, Germaine”. My guess is that the shorter woman in this image is Mlle Germaine.

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Published in: on October 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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COUPLE DRESSED AS RAJA AND GYPSY FOR “FANCY DRESS BALL” (INDIA 1894)

GYPSY INDIA

This cabinet card offers a fascinating portrait of a couple dressed for a costume party occurring in India. The couple are either in the country on holiday or perhaps the man is assigned to work there by his government. Inscriptions on the reverse of the photograph provide some explanatory information about the image. The photograph was taken 9/24/1894. The couple is wearing the costumes that they wore to a “Fancy dress ball” that was held on 9/20/1894. The gentleman is dressed as a Raja while the woman is dressed a a gypsy. She is holding a tambourine. This photograph was taken by a well know Indian studio. Theodore Julius Hoffmann and P. A. Johnston established a commercial photography studio in Calcutta (1882) and Darjeeling (1890). They also operated a studio in Simla. Johnston and Hoffmann’s photography business was the second largest commercial photography studio in India in that period. Many of their images were of North and Northeast India as well as Sikkim and Nepal. To view other photographs this pair of photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Johnston and Hoffmann”.

BLANCH WALSH: STAGE ACTRESS IN PROVOCATIVE POSE (PUBLISHED BY NEWSBOY)

BLANCH WALSH_0008This cabinet card photograph of actress, Blanch Walsh, was published by Newsboy and was given as a premium to buyers of  the company’s tobacco products. The photograph was number 12 of a series of celebrity photographic portraits. This particular photograph is particularly provocative and risque. Miss Walsh is exhibiting a great deal of exposed skin. Her pose and expression add to the subliminal sexuality. Miss Walsh is costumed as if to portray a gypsy. Note her jewelry. She is wearing a chain around her neck and multiple bracelets on her left arm. To view other theatrical images by Newsboy, click on category “Photographer: Newsboy”. Blanch Walsh (1873-1915) was a highly regarded American stage actress. She also appeared in one film, “Resurrection” (1912). She was born in New York City and educated in the public schools. Her father was T. P. Fatty Walsh, a Tammany politician and prison warden (The Tombs). Her stage debut was in 1888. She worked in the Charles Frohman Company as well as the William Gillette Company. She looked like a younger version of stage star Fanny Davenport. When Miss Davenport was ill for some time before dying in 1898, Blanch Walsh was given a number of her emotional roles. To view photographs of Miss Davenport, write Fanny Davenport in cabinet card gallery’s search box. Walsh’s most sensational role was as Maslova in Tolstoy’s “Resurrection” (1903). She also received much acclaim for her performance in “The Woman in the Case” (1905). The New York Times printed an article about Walsh upon her post surgical death. She was viewed as a major actress who likely would have risen to greater heights in the theater world if her life had not been cut short by her unfortunate early demise.

YOUNG GYPSY WOMAN IN ELMIRA, NEW YORK

R. F. Snyder of Elmira, New York produced this cabinet card photograph of a young gypsy woman. One can not be certain whether this image displays a young gypsy woman, or a young woman dressed to appear as a gypsy. She is wearing the appropriate ethnic clothing and is holding cymbals. The reverse of the photograph has a copyright date of 1889. This cabinet card does not represent good quality posing skills on the part of the photographer. The subject was photographed at too great a distance and she is consumed by the large blank expanse of the floor beneath her and the wall behind her. Ralph F. Snyder was born about 1852 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. His father, John Snyder, was a photographer. Ralph Snyder began his photography career at age 18 and soon had a studio in Scranton, Pennsylvania (1873). He also worked in Philadelphia before coming to Elmira, New York to open his gallery. His studio in Elmira was located at 116 Baldwin (1891).

Published in: on October 27, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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COSTUMED GIRLS IN SCHOOL PLAY (1883)

This cabinet card appears to be an image of a group of girls who are members of a cast of a school play. The girls are dressed in ethnic costumes. The girl sitting closest to the photographer is dressed beautifully in gypsy garb. Two individuals in this image appear to be adults and one may surmise that they are the teachers who are directing the show. Two of the girls are holding flowered hoops. A sign made up of leaves or vines indicate that this photograph was taken in 1883. Next to the date, two letters are hanging. The letters are either “MC” or “HC”, which may be an abbreviation of the school or group that is putting on the production. The name and location of the photographer is unknown since a prior owner of this cabinet card trimmed the edges to fit into an album or frame.

Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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GYPSY WOMAN PLAYING TAMBOURINE IN CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK

This cabinet card captures a gypsy woman with her tambourine held above her head. She is wearing multiple bracelets and necklaces, as well as linked chains. She is wearing what appears to be a head scarf, stockings, and a very interesting cloth belt. She may be an actual gypsy, or perhaps an actress in costume. The photographer is H. M. Finley of Canandagua, New York. Canandaigua is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Horace M. Finley (1839-?) was born in Canandaigua and educated in local schools. After completing school he worked for his father’s photographic studio. His father, Marshall Finley, was a co author of one of the first American photography books (1849). Horace Finley worked as a photographer for many years; he was listed as an artist, or photographer, in the census’s  of 1860 through 1900. To view other photographs by Finley, click on category “Photographer: Finley”.

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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TWO YOUNG GYPSY GIRLS WITH TAMBOURINES IN ROMANIA

gypsy-girlsThis Cabinet Card features two sweet girls dancing and playing tambourines. They appear to be gypsies and are wearing traditional ethnic clothing. The photographer is Olga and the studio is located in Oravicza, Romania.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 1:45 am  Comments (1)  
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